The career-changer: Adam’s Sovereign Academy journey

Sunday, August 27, 2023

At the Sovereign Academy, we attract students from a variety of backgrounds with one thing in common; a desire to learn from the best and forge a career in barbering.

Our most-recent graduate Adam Sawers joined us after making the leap and deciding to change career.

Tired of his 9-5 retail job, Adam wanted to pursue his creative streak and forge a career as a barber, joining Sovereign’s unique course, which condenses a traditional apprenticeship into a 15-week career accelerator where students exit as fully-qualified barbers.

After graduating and securing his SVQ 2 qualification this summer, Adam has secured a job with Sovereign in Aberdeen, and is now loving life in his new career.

We caught up with him in his first week to hear his story – here’s what he had to say. 

Tell us about what you did before you trained as a barber?

Before starting my barbering career, I worked in the corporate environment after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Business & Marketing. I was a project manager for Lidl for 7.5 years, spending time in Scotland, Germany and London rolling out HR systems for the company. 

What made you want to pursue a career in barbering?

I have always been a creative person with an interest in men’s hair and fashion. I very much treated it as a hobby whilst working in corporate. Like a lot of people, the CV19 pandemic provided me with a lot of clarity and perspective as to what I wanted to do with my life, and what would make me genuinely fulfilled. Taking a risk is always scary but it felt like the perfect time to take the leap and I’m so happy that I did. 

Why did you pick the Sovereign Academy?

Researching Sovereign’s Training Academy gave me the confidence that it was the perfect fit for me. The team are incredibly talented and the business is well-established in the barbering industry, so I knew I would be in safe hands. Speaking with Kyle Ross before starting my training also solidified my decision; talking about my genuine passion for the industry. 

How would you describe your experience at the Sovereign Academy?

My experience at Sovereign Academy has left me the most genuinely fulfilled I have ever been. The structure and co-ordination of the SVQ level 2 qualification is fantastic and really allowed me to flourish as a new barber in the industry. I was constantly surrounded by talent and there was never a missed opportunity to learn and develop. I have developed friendships with my peers and clients and refined not only my practical skills but theory and knowledge. 

What’s next for you?

I’m delighted that, for me, I am joining Sovereign officially as a stylist! I will be working out of the flagship Aberdeen store to refine my craft and further develop. I also look forward to attending and supporting team Sovereign at this year’s SHABA Awards, where I hope we scoop the prize for “Best Training Academy”. I am so thankful to Kyle, the management team, our fantastic course co-ordinator Erin and the Edinburgh team (Peter, Dan & Aaron) for getting me to the point where this opportunity has been presented to me.  

What would you say to anyone thinking of changing career?

My best advice is to not worry and overthink the risk. Risks are scary but you’ll never know what’s meant for you unless you take the leap. Do what makes you happy and I can honestly say I have never been happier than I am right now. I owe that to taking that leap, believing in myself and absolutely throwing myself into my training. Don’t go into it half-heartedly, you get out what you put in and barbering is definitely a career where you can never stop learning! 

If you would like to learn more about the Sovereign Academy, download our prospectus here.


Sovereign founder Kyle Ross is one of Europe's leading barbers, having won Best Barber UK in 2017. GQ Magazine recently recognised him as one of best in the industry.

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